[Editor’s note: Peggy continues her discussion of the Mentor Forum, held at the JEA/NSPA convention in Washington, D.C.]

by Peggy Gregory
JEA Mentoring Committee

Konnie Krislock led an informative session — Helping the New Adviser Through Censorship. Konnie’s session was originally scheduled as a small group choice, but the team realized everyone present would want to hear her story. Konnie’s main message: know everyone – lawyer, local scholastic journalism association, JEA rep, local reporter, parents, former students, legislator and the SPLC.

Comment from a mentor: Konnie’s situation and how she handled it was both informative and inspirational!

After hearing how Konnie handled her situation, mentors attended a session of their choice before lunch. In the afternoon a similar format was followed with choices offered first followed by the large group session.

Below is a list of the sessions with each followed by representative comments related by the mentors in their feedback forms:

* Beginning Podcasting (a.m.) – Judy Robinson led beginners through the ropes of podcasting.

* Podcasting: Review & Moving On (p.m.) – Judy worked with “veteran” podcasters on honing their skills.

Comments from mentors:

  • Judy’s podcasting refresher made me feel confident again that I could actually use it!
  • The small group review of podcasting was invaluable.

* Problems Mentors Encounter – Bill Flechtner (facilitator)

Comment from mentor: Bill’s problem solving session was extremely helpful for three different situations of two of my mentees.

* Creating Necessary Resources – Peggy Gregory (facilitator)

Comment from mentor: Peggy’s resource gathering allowed us to collaborate for several documents to share – we need more of this.

* Generational Savvy – Nick Ferentinos

Comment from mentor: Generation Savvy a plus.

Ellen Kersey (OR), Jo Ann Hagood (AL), Ron Bonadonna (NJ) and Marie Parsons (AL) discussed a problem that could be confronted by a mentor. (Photo by Bill Flechtner)

The mentors met as a full group to discuss Mentor Language and Mentor Conversation (modeling and practice) – In groups of 4-5, mentors chose a problem from a list supplied by the team. After Nick provided handouts and a quick review of mentor language, two people in the group acted as the mentor and mentee acting out their situation. The others in the group observed and occasionally stopped the role playing to offer advice for the “mentor” to consider before continuing. Finally, Sandy Jacoby and Martha Rothwell re-enacted their mentoring for the whole group where the action was again stopped to add advice for Sandy, the mentor.

Comments from mentors:

  • Nick’s mentoring role playing was beneficial, and it reminded me to keep using the language and stress the positive. Using the correct mentoring language requires practice!
  • The practicing is very useful. Being able to practice in a safe environment and watching quality mentoring was reinforcing and good training.

Linda Barrington (right) and Julie Dodd led the final session of the Forum. (Photo by Bill Flechtner)

The Forum wrapped up with “More Ins and Outs of the Program”  Julie Dodd and Linda Barrington, co-chairs of the Mentoring Committee, talked about the importance of the mentors’ monthly reports, how the stipends would be distributed, and a number of other paperwork issues.